Was it really twenty two years ago this month that the Meat Puppets found themselves on a 6-week cross country tour with Black Flag and the Nig Heist? To Flag it was nothing: just another in a seemingly endless series of punishing promotional marathons. But to us, it was staggering. Nothing in our previous four years had prepared us for a month and a half of car trouble, violent crowds, hostile promotors, arrests, interminable drives, horrendous food, blizzards, and all with only two days off for the whole thing. In other words, it was a typical Black Flag tour. Fortunately, the Nig Heist opened every show, which was both both the high point and the low point of the trip, depending on my mood.
Each night, the Nig Heist would bait the hardcore audiences with a simplistic but effective style of confrontational performance art. Donning long hair wigs and heavy metal regalia, they would taunt the crowd with a crude Van Halen approximation. Every song dealt with what was known in Flag circles as "scamming broads." In between the songs, the singer would invite the women in the audience to meet him backstage to "get happening" with what he called his "two inches of dangling death." Some nights, the audience ignored it, some nights the shtick was boring. But on rare occasions the crowd would freak out, inspiring the band to ever greater heights of provocation. They even managed to get themselves arrested once.
Holding down the bottom end was super sweetie Tom Troccoli, self styled hippie and America's formost nude bass player. I think he was also in charge of the merch, but I can no longer remember for sure. He and I got along from the start. We both liked a lot of the same shit, like comic books and Elvis. The Nig Heist was a lark for him, and shortly afterwards, he got his own band together. He explores his musical history in depth on his Web site, where you'll not only find a generous helping of his own recollections, but if you look close enough, you'll find some rare Meat Puppets content.
One only wishes that he'd give up whatever page authoring tool he's using and move his whole mess over to wordpress.org or Blogger, where the templates are more legible.